As mentioned by the author Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple has already become the richest Temple in the world. Still other vault is to be opened and some more wealth is expected to be noted. It was quite possible as Smt Lakshmi Ramdas state that if the wealth was known to the British or the Muslim rulers of the nearby countries, they would have appropriated the wealth. Anyway thanks, to Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy, the wealth is intact. When the princely system was abolished by the independent India, the rulers of the Trivandrum who were also the owners of the temple could have taken the wealth. However, they did not do so as they have given the items given by them to the temple as offering to the lord of their family and country.
It is not that there was no knowledge about the wealth to anybody. As per the news reporting there is a perfect record by the late Mahakavi Ulloor giving the details of the items by name, quality, quantity, the person/s who offered the items and who were all present at the time of the offerings etc. The record is also found along with the wealth in the vaults. The vault used to be opened once in 12 years in the earlier period upto about 100 years back, according to the news items.
Now as to the use of the wealth, there may be divergent views. There may be people who feel that the wealth should be used for the development of the temple, city, state and the country. According to me the wealth is the offerings made by the devotees for specific purposes. The wealth consists mainly of 2 types. Once is in the form of articles which are having artistic, antique, relic and heritage values. These items should not be disturbed. There should be a provision to preserve the same as in a museum with proper security and inventory updated with all details of each and every piece and computerized. This may be exhibited once in a year or so for a few days in the lean season of the temple. There may be a portion of the wealth that may not have any intrinsic, relical, heritage value like the gold chains, ornaments of routine type and the silver utensils etc which can be auctioned and the proceeds of the same may be utilized for some useful purposes. I feel even a portion of the coins of Napoleon era, Vijayanagar Empire era or other such coins can be auctioned after keeping a few of them from each series as heritage/relical etc and kept in museum like place mentioned above.
Depending on the quantum of realization of the proceeds of the non relic, heritage items (items of ordinary type) the first priority should be given for the improvement of the infrastructure of the temple and around the temple by buying properties around if necessary, so that more and more people can come and have worship without hardships. After utilizing the fund for the improvement of the temple premises and around the next priority should be for the infrastructure improvement of the Thiruvananthapuram City the then the district and the rest of the state, if any funds available.
Thanks to the publicity, the temple will surpass the Thirupathi temple in the throng of devotees and the income from them by way of offerings will be very high which will be available for the benefit of the society by introducing schemes to improve the lot of poor in the state. The Government should consult the NGOs and other eminent persons and decide a portion (a fixed percentage of the income like 40%) of the income from the temple to be utilized for the improvement and maintenance of the temple and temple properties.
A special mention is to be made about the stand of the Oommen Chandy Government for their stand that the temple property belong to the temple and the Government will give protection to the property by providing adequate security. It is a commendable stand and should be appreciated.
Ramanathan A R